Stale links

Finding and fixing a broken link

On 28/08/2019

In SEO - search engines

The existence of broken links can seriously harm your credibility and may even have a negative impact on your referencing!
Links are called internal or external (or outbound) hyperlinks when we place links directing to text or images on another page of the same site or to a page of another site. But it is not only the links present on your site that are concerned. You must pay attention to backlinks, also called inbound links, i.e. links placed on external sites that direct to your site.

Let's see together how to check whether your site contains dead links and fix them!

What is a broken link ?

A weblink is broken, dead or invalid when a link leads to error pages as 404 error code (Page Not Found message).

Why? The web-page has become obsolete, has been moved or renamed which means it leads to a dead weblink.

When visitors look for an information on your website and click on a bad URL (supposed to give access to a particular information) but end up reaching an error page, they will get frustrated and will probably leave your website to seek the answer elsewhere.

Why is it so important to identify the "Rotten" links of your site?

A bad visitor experience can have a negative impact on the reputation of your website or even your business, leading to a loss of credibility. In addition to these 3 first issues, the lack of a monitoring plan and the absence of any invalid URL processing, will in the mid and long-term end up:

  • affecting your acquisition rate: when a visitor finds a stale link, he probably won't come back to buy your services, and much worse than that, he might share his bad experience with his acquaintances;
  • diminish your conversion rate (converting prospects into customers): broken links are obstacles in the conversion process, which results in a loss of turnover, of time and efforts on your SEO campaigns;
  • increase your site bounce rate: this rate measures the average duration of a session on your site. Yet, when the visitor is hindered by a broken link, he won't stay on the site for long which will result in an increase in the bounce rate. Search engines take this information into account to determine the relevance of the website contents as it's credibility and reliability;
  • damage your site SEO: if the website is considered irrelevant, the chances to appear on search engines results will decrease and the chances to be included in the results first page are even fewer;
  • downgrading your site on search engines: when search engines as Google, find out that the website visitors leave your site after a few seconds, they will deduce that the website lacks relevance then downgrade your site, remove your pages from the search results or not even index it (the bot can stop indexing the site after finding a rot link).

How do broken links appear and how do you identify them?

Broken links are due to a change of URL or an error when entering a URL, or the deletion or temporary unavailability of the page to which they direct.

Regular checks must be made in order to be sure that visitors to the site are not directed to an error page. You must also frequently test the references to external sites or, for example, the links to your partners' sites.

What to do

When it concerns an internal or inbound link, you can simply create a redirection (permanent or temporary) from the old address to the new one. If it concerns a link that is present in the Directory add-on, you can use our link checker tool.

Things become more complicated when it concerns an external link, in which case you must find the link for the new page or that of a page that can replace the old one. You can also contact the webmaster of the external site in order to ask them to correct it.

The larger the site, the longer and more difficult it will be to check and fix the broken links of your site (especially if it is manual).
Therefore, we offer you a few examples of free and paid link checker tools to meets all your needs, but remember that the capacity to identify the link and its exact location on your site is more important than the price of the solution chosen.
Free broken link checker tools:

  1. Google Search Console
  2. W3C Link Checker 
  3. Broken Link Checker
  4. SEO Minion

Paid broken link checker tools:

  1. SEMrush
  2. Ahref
  3. Linktiger

We declare the broken links hunt open!

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